County develops solutions to help residents receive vaccination information
Though Colorado appears to be entering a fourth coronavirus wave, and variant strains of COVID-19 are becoming more prevalent in the community and beyond, Summit County Director of Public Health Amy Wineland said at a Board of Health meeting Thursday, April 8, that the county is tracking well for getting its residents vaccinated.
“We’re doing a great job as a region in getting vaccines into arms compared to other regions in the state,” Wineland said.
Wineland and her team are currently planning vaccination clinics and events for next week. She said the county won’t know its full vaccination allocation until Monday, April 12.
As the county continues to deliver messaging surrounding the vaccine, some residents are still finding it difficult to access information about available appointments and how to sign up for appointments.
For example, on Monday, April 5, County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence announced that the county would be vaccinating over 1,000 new people last week, as well as “doing plenty of second doses.” Two days later, the county sent an alert to the public notifying residents that vaccination appointments were still available at Thursday’s PrepMod drive-thru clinic.
According to local officials, the open appointments aren’t due to hesitation from locals but rather because of technology issues and scheduling conflicts, among other things. There are 17,000 people currently preregistered in the PrepMod system.
At Thursday’s Board of Health meeting, local officials mentioned that emails with information regarding the vaccine, including appointment updates and alerts, are occasionally getting lost in inboxes. Some of these are ending up in spam folders. Wineland said this might be because of a firewall or safety measures on a recipient’s email settings. Nevertheless, she said the county is trying to develop solutions.
“One thing that we’re doing to help is once we send out an invitation after folks are pulled from that list randomly and they’re offered an appointment, we do send an (Summit County) alert just to that group to let them know they’ve been sent (an email),” Wineland said. “We can tell how many people have actually opened the email. We can tell how many people have clicked the link to actually see what the opportunity is to sign up. I think that is helping a little bit.”
Wineland said when alerts are sent to the public, available appointments are filled very quickly, sometimes as soon as within 30 minutes.
To combat these technological issues, Wineland said the county is planning to launch a postcard campaign in an effort to spread the word to residents about how to get vaccinated. All postcards will be sent to P.O. boxes and include a QR code with information on how to register for an appointment.
In addition to hosting PrepMod drive-thru events, Wineland said the county is planning to host a series of neighborhood pop-up sites to make the vaccines more accessible to underserved populations.
“We’re going to be (doing) at least three a week and we’ll be using a lot of different data to identify where in the community we’ll be focusing on and partnering with different agencies to make this happen,” Wineland said.
Wineland also said the Summit Community Care Clinic is partnering with the Summit School District and will be visiting various schools every Wednesday to get younger populations vaccinated. This Wednesday, April 14, the care clinic will be at Summit Middle School and host a 400-dose drive-thru pod.
In addition to these efforts, Wineland said the county is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to host a large clinic in Breckenridge next week. This date had yet to be confirmed as of Thursday’s meeting. Spokesperson Nicole Valentine did not return a request for comment on Saturday for an update.
So far, 33.3% of Summit County’s population has been fully vaccinated, 25.4% of the population are partially vaccinated and 58.7% have received a single dose.
As of Friday, April 2, all Coloradans over the age of 16 are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and all Coloradans over the age of 18 are eligible to receive the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to a press release from Gov. Jared Polis’ office.
“We really want to encourage everyone to get the vaccine,” Lawrence said in a Facebook video on Wednesday evening, April 7. “We need approximately 85% of adults, or those 16 and older, in our community to get vaccinated in order for us to achieve herd immunity. That’s what’s really going to make a difference in our county and across the country.”
Valentine said she is developing a marketing campaign featuring a syringe image that shows how much of Summit County’s population has been vaccinated so far.
“We do want to display in a visual manner to our community where we stand in terms of vaccinations and our progress,” Valentine said. “Our plan is to share that graphic on social media and continue to update our progress with the community as we push for vaccinations so we can achieve herd immunity.”
Residents interested in getting vaccinated should register using the PrepMod preregistration system. According to Summit County’s website, “public health officials will use a lottery process to randomly select those within the current prioritized populations when appointments are available.” Once registered, residents will be contacted for an appointment by Summit County Public Health. For more information about this system and for step-by-step instructions on how to register, residents should visit the SummitCountyCo.gov.
There is no cost for receiving the vaccine, and it can be given to those who have had COVID-19.
In addition to the PrepMod appointments, residents can also get vaccinated at the following locations in Summit County:
- Safeway Pharmacy: Visit MHealthAppointments.com/covidappt to make an appointment. Call 970-668-9980 for more information.
- City Market: Visit KingSoopers.com/rx/covid-eligibility to make an appointment. Call 1-866-211-5320 for more information.
- Summit Community Care Clinic: The care clinic will host two Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine clinics next week. The first is on Wednesday, April 14 and the second is on Friday, April 16. Register online at CoMassVax.org. For more information on these clinics, visit the county’s website at SummitCountyCo.gov.
- Centura Health Physician Group: Preregister online at Centura.org/vaccine-signup. Residents will get a notification when they are eligible to receive a vaccine and will schedule an appointment at that time.
- Walmart Pharmacy: Visit Walmart.com/covidvaccine to schedule an appointment.
- Residents can also access a complete list of vaccine providers in Colorado at CoCOVIDVaccine.org.
People ages 16 and older are eligible for the vaccine. People with questions about the local response to COVID-19 can call the county’s hotline at 970-668-9730 or email email@example.com.
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